SAN ANTONIO — Down by 21 on the road, the Chicago Bulls refused to go quietly into the night Saturday at the AT&T Center.
The Spurs, meanwhile, played like they were bored and wanted to go home after intermission.
Kris Dunn scored 24 points and Lauri Markkanen had 23, leading the Bulls to a 98-93 victory that ended the Spurs' run of four consecutive victories since Dec. 7.
Trailing 62-43 at the half, the Bulls outscored the Spurs 55-31 in the last two quarters, including 31-16 in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 78-74 heading into the fourth period. The Silver and Black had six of their 15 turnovers in the third quarter.
"We made a lot of mistakes and probably lost a little bit of mental toughness there being ahead," Popovich said. "You get behind, you come back. We all do that. Sometimes you come back and sometimes you don't.
"But as I said, their defense fueled it. They got in us, they were physical, and they executed really well on offense. A couple of guys got hot and did a good job, and we didn't react to it well."
Chicago (7-23) was 1-9 in its last 10 games and had lost three in a row before avenging a one-point loss to San Antonio on Nov. 25 in Chicago. Coached by former Spurs assistant Jim Boylen, the Bulls are last in the Eastern Conference and only Phoenix (6-24) has a worst record.
Chicago won Saturday night despite playing without leading scorer, Zach LaVine, a guard who is sidelined with an ankle injury.
"That's a tough loss," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the setback, "I give Chicago a lot of credit. Coach Boylen had them ready and the character and fortitude they showed being down at half by 19, or whatever it was, is a real tribute to what they are trying to establish in Chicago.
"Their defense took us out of things. We turned it over because of their pressure. The ball stopped moving, and at the right time, they started making some shots down the stretch, which is always helpful. They deserve a lot of credit and that's a real tough loss for us."
Boylen, 53, was an assistant coach with the Spurs for two seasons (2013-15) and was on Popovich's staff when the franchise won its last NBA title in 2014.
"I'm very humbled to come into this building and coach against the Spurs," Boylen said. "(I have) so much respect for them. I'm just happy for our team. I thought we had the energy to stay in the game, and then we made some plays, and I'm proud of our guys."
The Spurs (15-15) cap their six-game home stand Monday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, who are one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference. The Silver and Black were trying to climb to two games over .500 for the first time since Nov. 12, but the Bulls squelched those hopes with their second-half comeback.
Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge had a double-double, finishing with 29 points and 12 rebounds. He hit 10 of 16 shots, but had only eight points in the second half. DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Marco Belinelli had a season-high 17. Belinelli made a season-high 5 of 7 three-pointers.
"They played much better than us in the third and fourth quarter," Belinelli said. "They wanted it more than us. That's why we lost the game. We didn't move the ball like we usually move the ball, like in the last couple of games. We just need to give credit to them.
"They really played a really great game. I love Jim (Boylen), their coach. But at the same time, we can't really lose these couple games. So, we just need to go home and be ready for the next game against Philly.
Sparked by the scoring of Aldridge, DeRozan and Belinelli, the Spurs led by 19 at the half and appeared to be on the way to a rout. Aldridge scored his 21 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting. He also had seven rebounds in the first two quarters. DeRozan and Belinelli had 12 points each. Belinelli nailed 4 of 5 three-pointers.
The Silver and Black shot 58.8 percent (20-34) and buried 6 of 10 three-pointers in the first half. Chicago shot only 38.3 percent (18-47) in the first two quarters. They were 3 of 18 from beyond the arc. Markkanen was the only Chicago player in double figures at the half, scoring 10 points.
The Spurs were in good shape until the wheels started to come off in the third quarter.
Asked whether the turnaround in the second half was because of the Silver and Black's sloppy play, good play by the Bulls or a combination of the two, DeRozan said: A combination -- turning the ball over, they were aggressive, we couldn't score the ball. It was a combination of a little bit of everything."